As we move towards service-oriented complex infrastructures, what is needed, security, robustness, and intelligence distributed within the network. Modern systems are too complicated to be centrally administered; therefore, the need for approaches that provide autonomic characteristics and are able to be self sustained is evident. We present here one approach towards this goal, i.e., how we can build dynamic infrastructures based on mobile agents (MA) and active networks (AN). Both concepts share common ground at the architectural level, which makes it interesting to use a mix of them to provide a more sophisticated framework for building dynamic systems. We argue that by using this combination, more autonomous systems can be built that can effectively possess at least at some level of self-* features, such as self-management, self-healing, etc., which, in conjunction with cooperation capabilities, will lead to the deployment of dynamic infrastructures that autonomously identify and adapt to external/internal events. As an example, the implementation of an autonomous network-based security service is analyzed, which proves that denial of service attacks can be managed by the network itself intelligently and in an autonomic fashion.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Active Networks: Active networks are a communication paradigm that allows packets flowing through a communication network to dynamically modify the operation of the network.
Active Application: This is the code that is actually executed in the Execution Environment of the node. Via its execution in the EE, the code programs the node according to the user’s preferences.
Sensor Networks: Sensor networks are computer networks of many, spatially distributed devices using sensors to monitor conditions at different locations, such as temperature, sound, vibration, pressure, motion, or pollutants. Usually these devices are small and inexpensive, so that they can be produced and deployed in large numbers, and so their resources in terms of energy, memory, computational speed, and bandwidth are severely constrained.
DoS: Denial of service attacks result in computers consuming their resources for malicious events without being able to further process legitimate user requests
Execution Environment: This is the place where the active code executes. The EE offers access to the core node resources via a policy-controlled scheme. This can be, for instance, a mobile agent system that takes care of the execution of an agent.
Autonomic Computing: An initiative started by IBM in 2001. Its ultimate aim is to create self-managing computer systems to overcome their rapidly growing complexity and to enable their further growth.
Mobile Agents: A mobile agent is a composition of computer software and data which is able to migrate (move) from one computer to another autonomously and continue its execution on the destination computer.